Renovations Scheduled for Subway
By HANNAN ADELY
The thousands of north Bronx residents who pack the subways every day for their morning commute are greeted by grime, broken tiles, graffiti and peeling paint. The subway stations are an eyesore and in desperate need of intensive care, say both riders and community leaders.
"It's in pretty bad shape," said Bedford Park resident Francis Lopez, who rides the 4-train to work three days a week. "There's lots of garbage on the tracks and they need to put more lights in here."
On Dec. 18, local community groups met with Jackie Carter, a community liaison for New York City Transit Authority, to discuss improving the stations. "We'd like to come out of clean, well-lit, good-looking stations," said Pat Logan, of Fordham Bedford Housing Corporation, the non-profit group that organized the meeting. "The first impression for those who go to work every day is also the first impression for those who are visiting. That's not a great first impression."
In its current capital plan, the Transit Authority has committed to renovations along the No. 4 IRT line, from 167th Street to Woodlawn, scheduled to begin this year. But the agency would not provide details about the work because they are still in the design phase, spokeswoman Deirdre Parker said. Carter told community leaders the stations would be fully renovated, including the installation of new mezzanines and platforms.
A wish list from local groups includes replacing tile, resurfacing platforms, fixing persistent leaks and doing something about an unreliable escalator at the 205th Street D-train station in Norwood.
According to Logan, Carter said renovations along the No. 4 line, from 167th St. to Woodlawn, will start in March or April of this year, excluding the Fordham and Woodlawn stations, which will get repairs by the third quarter of 2002. Work on the Kingsbridge Road, Bedford Park and Mosholu stations will begin in the first quarter of 2003. The stations will be closed during renovations and riders will receive free bus service between stations.
Since the D line is not due for renovations until 2006 - as part of the 2005-2009 capital plan - local organizers would like to see smaller improvements while the community waits. "At the very least, it would be nice to see tiles replaced and they should put out more rat bait and have a more effective way of dealing with rats," said Chloe Tribich, an organizer with the Mosholu Woodlawn South Community Coalition, a Norwood neighborhood improvement group.
Logan said the Fordham Bedford Housing Corporation would push for better maintenance and monitor the type of work being done. "Many repairs are in slipshod fashion," he said. "There is missing tile everywhere. They just cement over the missing area which is not really appropriate."
Logan added he would also like to see Art for Transit, a project implemented in stations in other boroughs, brought to the Bronx. For instance, stations could be decorated by posting artwork with a local hook, he said, highlighting the New York Botanical Garden, the Edgar Allan Poe Cottage, and the housing revival in the Bronx.
Most of all, residents want the same attention given to their stations as is given to those in Manhattan. "We pay taxes too," Lopez said. "We need to get them to fix things up here like they do in Penn Station."
Community leaders feel that rehabilitating the stations will improve overall quality of life in the area. "Transportation, schools, open spaces - all these things make the neighborhood a stable place," Logan said.
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